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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Song of Solomon

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-"Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. Catch us the foxes, the little foxes, that ruin the vineyards—for our vineyards are in blossom.’ My beloved is mine and I am his; he pastures his flock among the lilies. Until the day breathes and the shadows flee turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle or a young stag on the cleft mountains."-Song of Solomon 2: 13-17

Alright, forgetting all the innuendo that is in this passage (consider the vineyard imagery!), this is actually one of the more tame passages from the Song of Solomon.  Most of the book is dedicated to the poetic interplay of two lovers, a male and female, who long and pine for each other while detailing the finer points of the others' body.   It is not the sort of thing most people imagine to be in the Bible.  Yet there it is.  But why?  This is the primary question, and one for which there is no obvious answer.  But one answer that has persisted for millenia is that the Song of Solomon is an allegory.  That means everything in it stands for something else.  Thus for Christians, the male figure is Christ, and the female is his Church, or the individual believer. 

What this means is that, for thousands of years Jewish and Christian scholars alike have felt comfortable with the idea that the Bible uses lurid erotic poetry to point us toward the relationship between God and people.  Consider that for a moment!  Consider also what this means if it is true.  It means that every sexual encounter, every sexual thought, every sexual idea has the potential, the potential mind you, to orient us back to God.  We often don't think of God and sex in a positive relationship.  Most of the time we consider that God doesn't really want us having or thinking about sex, but the Song of Solomon takes a potentially different position.  It infers that our sexual desires can actually draw us closer to God.  Wouldn't that be something!

Prayer:  Holy God, thank you for loving me, and for calling me to love you.  Help me to love you with my whole being, and guide me in my relationship with you, that our love for one another might be obvious for all to see. I pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

[Phil Blackburn, First Presbyterian Church]

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